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July 31, 2014 marked Milton Friedman Legacy Day in the Pennsylvania state capitol. Friedman, who passed away in 2006, in his career was an economic advisor to Sen. Barry Goldwater, President Nixon and President Regan. He was an educator, philanthropist, academic and advocate who wrote extensively on the theorems of economics as government policy with a primary emphasis on the preservation and extension of individual freedom. Mr. Friedman is considered the “father of school choice” and serves, to this day, as a guiding figure in the school choice movement both locally and nationally.

The REACH (Road to Educational Achievement Through CHoice) Foundation, Pennsylvania’s grassroots coalitions dedicated to ensuring parental choice in education, chose this day to host a comprehensive workshop detailing the current status of two vital programs which support Germantown Academy – the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs.

Otto Banks, REACH’s Executive Director led the proceedings and was supported by presentations from the state’s Acting Secretary of Education, Carolyn Dumaresq, Ed.D., state education lobbyist Brian Abela and the state’s Department of Community Economic Development (DCED) Executive Director of EITC Programming as well as its sister program, the OSTC. (SEE INSET for updates and program facts revealed).

Since 2001, the EITC program has provided businesses an easy, impactful way to support local education by simply directing contributions to provide scholarship dollars to qualified educational organizations instead of sending their tax dollars to Harrisburg. The OSTC was added two years ago, specifically funding students from the lowest performing school districts in the state (Philadelphia, by far, has the most qualifiers) with opportunity scholarships at better schools. Simply put, both programs redirect dollars that would have been paid as in state business taxes and direct them instead to provide scholarship support for qualified students at Germantown Academy. GA is a qualified scholarship organization for both programs.

Both of these programs have exploded with interest, distributing over $300million in total aid over the last 10 years. The EITC program has become so successful, in fact, that applicant businesses are frequently placed on a wait list for first time participation. Available tax credits are often exhausted a mere hours after the application process opens each July first.

Germantown Academy benefits immensely from these crucial programs due to two primary factors: Business owners from within the GA community (parents, alumni, parents of alumni, etc.) have identified this as an efficient way to involve their businesses in state educational programming directly at their favorite school. Also, due to our proximity to the city of Philadelphia, GA currently enrolls more students who qualify financially for support from these two programs than we have aid to distribute.

We hope that YOU, and your company, will consider participating in these truly transformational programs offered by our state government. For more information, please contact Martin Dean, Associate Director of Institutional Advancement, 267-405-7458 or EMAIL.

Current EITC K-12 Credit Distribution Timeline (Fiscal Year ’14-’15 total - $60 million):

As of July 31, 2014 - $23.3m had been approved for companies in year two of a two year commitment (given first priority, offered the new early renewal date of May 15)
$28.7m had been approved for companies in year one of a two year commitment (given second priority, also offered the new renewal date of May 15)
$8m was approved for standard July 1 applications (for which there was demand for $10.1m in applications on July 1 alone).
Remaining July 1 applicants placed on wait list.
NOTE: OSTC credits are still available and can be applied for immediately

More News

GA went to Harrisburg
State Legislation on the Near Horizon (not yet set in stone by law):

  • Some current discussion about phasing out Capital Stock and Franchise taxes in the future. Government will consider adding new applicable state taxes for EITC/OSTC business applicants.
  • Secondary Career and Technical Schools may be added as new eligible recipients of EITC/OSTC funding (causing more participation outlets for businesses; more competition for program dollars among scholarship organizations)
  • New house bill addressing the assurance that all available tax credits are distributed each year; establishing annual timeline where remaining credits from either program can be distributed to the other assuring that there is no carry forward or unapplied funding

Meeting Take Away – Action Items:

  • Businesses making a two year commitment to EITC program have a distinct advantage in the distribution process with new early application timeline
  • OSTC program, for now, presents streamlined opportunity for approvals starting July 1 due to less competition for available credits
  • Philadelphia ranks atop the list of state areas with lowest performing public school districts, GA currently enrolls many students who are eligible for both EITC and OSTC funding